News10NBC Investigates: You need to protect yourself

March 15, 2019 06:33 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- News10NBC is still asking questions into the frustration about getting your car damaged and then your insurance claim denied.

News10NBC is working to figure out solutions to this. 

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On Thursday night, we chronicled three people. Each one had their car damaged through no fault of their own. Each one had their claim either denied or delayed. And we wanted to know -- how do you deal with that and avoid that? 

Last August, Beverly Steadtmiller's car was hit by a Rochester Police car. 

"The city refuses to pay for the damage to my vehicle,"' Steadtmiller said. 

Melinda Epps was hit by a stolen minivan last month. 

"I noticed a minivan come smack me dead in the back," she recalled back at the scene of the crash.

Her claim was denied by her insurance company. 

John Romero was hit from behind by a rental SUV. He went weeks before an insurance decision. 

"It's cut and dry. There's $5,000 worth of damages to this vehicle, plus," he said. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "Did you see our story?" 

Jake Conkling, Spencerport Insurance Agency: "I did, yeah."

Jake Conkling runs Spencerport Insurance Agency. 

Brean: "What did you think when you saw it?"

Conkling: "You can't rely on someone else to do the right thing, to buy the right policy that's going to protect you. You need to protect yourself."

Conkling says when you buy the right insurance it can protect you when the other driver is uninsured or an emergency vehicle. 

Conkling: "And then, what they're going to do is, they're going to go to bat for you to battle the other responsible party."

But insurance can be expensive.

Both Steadtmiller and Epps admit they had bare-bones coverage on their cars. So they were not protected when they got hit by a police car, which is exempt from liability under state law and a minivan that was stolen. 

Romero has a comprehensive plan and after two weeks of calling, his damage is getting covered. 

"The squeaky wheel got the grease," he said. 

Some people who get denied an insurance claim file a complaint with the state.

The Department of Financial Services handled 640 auto insurance complaints in 2017.

According to a report by DFS, the state's rulings returned almost $3 million to car owners who had their claims denied. 


Berkeley Brean

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